Battle for Ohio

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Last updated: 07/07/2012 4:53 PM

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Team Columbus Tops Cleveland in Battle for Ohio

Diebler Still Three-Point King in Columbus
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The last rack of basketballs is all that stood between Jon Diebler and another three-point milestone.

The all-time leading three-point shooter in Ohio State history had fallen behind Dru Joyce III during a three-point competition at halftime of the Ohio Homecoming “Battle for Ohio” game at St. John Arena.

With an unofficial crowd of around 2,000 on hand for the charity event, Diebler was one of the headliners, along with former OSU teammates Evan Turner, David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson was also on hand, along with a number of former Buckeyes, including Ron Lewis, Scoonie Penn, Terence Dials, Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger.

The game between Team Columbus and Team Cleveland was tightly contested throughout, but not quite as exciting as the halftime performance from Diebler. After hitting only six of his 15 threes in the opening round of the competition, Diebler trailed Joyce—a former high school teammate of LeBron James—by a score of 10-6.

Fans were cheering for Diebler to find his stroke in the second round, and the 6-6 wing from Upper Sandusky did not disappoint. After draining all five of the balls on his first rack, Diebler was a perfect 5-for-5 on the final rack to cap off an incredible 13-of-15 performance in the second round.

“Johnny D was fun to watch out there today, said former OSU point guard Scoonie Penn.

“He’s always fun to watch, but he really had his shot going today.”

Diebler and Penn teamed up with Turner and Dials to help Team Columbus to a 95-91 victory over Team Cleveland, despite a heroic effort from Tristan Thompson. The Cavs’ second-year forward led the way for Clark Kellogg’s team with 27 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Former Redhawk Julius “Juby” Johnson chipped in with 29 points and five rebounds, but former Buckeye David Lighty was limited to just seven points and four rebounds in 24 minutes.

Team Columbus coach Ron Stokes got 17 points and seven rebounds from Evan Turner. He also got 18 points off the bench from Ron Lewis. Diebler scored 11 points—going 3-of-5 behind the arc—and Dials added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“This was great for the city,” Turner said afterward.

“We wanted to win, first and foremost. We were out there trying to win, but it was a fun thing to do, especially for charity.”

Prior to tip-off, Columbus mayor Michael Coleman addressed the crowd and called this year’s game “the beginning of a tradition,” which he hopes to continue next year.

Notes from the Battle for Ohio:

*The Starting Five for Columbus was: Dials, Samaki Walker, Turner, Diebler and Penn.

*Columbus Coach Ron Stokes had help from former Buckeyes Greg Oden and Michael Redd, both of whom opted not to participate in the game.

*OSU head basketball coach Thad Matta was on hand—at least for part of the time—along with David Egelhoff, his director of basketball operations.

*A number of Matta’s current players were also in the arena, including Aaron Craft, Amir Williams, Lenzelle Smith, Jr., Evan Ravenel and the newest member, Amedeo Della Valle.

*Craft said he wasn't sure he even needed his recent surgery because the ankle didn't bother him "that much" but this was the right time to do it.

*Craft got his cast off Tuesday, but won't start jogging again until Monday. No exact timetable set yet.

*Amir said he's up to 252lbs this summer after playing in the 240's last year. Working on getting stronger.

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